Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on James Joyce's Ulysses. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Ulysses: Plot Summary
Ulysses: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Ulysses: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of James Joyce
Historical Context of Ulysses
Other Books Related to Ulysses
- Full Title: Ulysses
- When Written: 1914-1921
- Where Written: Trieste (Austria-Hungary), Zurich (Switzerland), Paris (France)
- When Published: February 2, 1922 (Portions first serialized in 1918-1920)
- Literary Period: Modernism
- Genre: Modernist Novel
- Setting: Dublin, Ireland
- Climax: The brothel scene in “Circe” [Stephen Dedalus has a hallucinatory vision of his dead mother and Leopold Bloom cares for him]
- Antagonist: Alienation and meaninglessness, the irreversibility of fate, ignorance, religious orthodoxy, social prejudice, British imperialism, fanatical Irish nationalism, Blazes Boylan and several others (the citizen, Lenehan, Buck Mulligan, etc.)
- Point of View: Primarily third-person free indirect discourse with multiple narrators; also first-person stream of conscious monologue (Ep. 3, 13, 18); no point of view in Ep. 15
Extra Credit for Ulysses
Obscenity Controversy. Ulysses was almost immediately banned for its detailed descriptions of sex and masturbation, which were deemed obscene. The full text of this literary masterpiece was not available to the general public in the UK or US for more than a decade after its 1922 publication in Paris.
Where is Joyce? Although virtually all of the characters in Ulysses are based on real people, critics have argued at length about who in the novel (if anyone) represents James Joyce himself. While Stephen Dedalus certainly represents Joyce in his youth and Leopold Bloom represents certain dimensions of Joyce’s adult persona (like his wild business schemes), other critics have suggested that he is really embodied in a more obscure, mysterious character: the man in the brown macintosh, who is never identified.